The Niagara News is the community newspaper of Niagara College located in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada. It is created and produced by the students of the Niagara College Journalism program.
While the holidays are supposed to be a time full of joy, love and happiness, some people experience a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Between four and six per cent of Americans suffer from the disorder and two- to-three per cent of Canadians. SAD is more common in females and those who have a history of depression in their family. I happen to fit that criteria.
Depression and anxiety are prominent mental illnesses in my family, and for the past couple of years I have noticed that I start to get the winter blues when the holidays roll around.
After the fall time change, it gets dark very early. The days are short and the darkness of the night seems to drag on forever. This tricks my body into oversleeping, being extremely anxious, depressed and even having physical pain in my neck, which are all common symptoms of SAD.
Although there isn’t anything you can do to prevent it, there are ways to cope with it. When I’m feeling down around the holidays, I like to put on my comfiest pajamas, cover myself in blankets and put on some Christmas movies.
Doing this helps to lift my spirits, and allows me to think about the positive aspects of the season.
SAD may make me temporarily lose interest in things that I like, but hanging out with friends and family can also help me by providing a distraction from my depressive episodes.
I love decorating for Christmas, and driving around the neighbourhood to admire everyone’s Christmas lights and décor helps to lift my mood as well.
I also like to drink hot chocolate, as it relaxes me and calms my anxious nerves. SAD is an uncontrollable disorder that distorts your feelings around the holidays, but trying to be optimistic and finding the strength to do things that make you happy is the key to fighting back.